Free city centre parking to help the nighttime economy and evening shopping to be scrapped - "Alive after Five" to be axed by Labour Administration. Liberal Democrats call for improved public transport from additional charges.
Cllr Greg Stone, Liberal Democrats opposition spokesperson on transport said
"The city council's leadership has seemingly indicated to NE1 that Alive After Five will end before they have got round to informing councillors and the public of the details. They will aim to present this as part of a green agenda but the Opposition believes the council's motivation is to shore up council finances after it has seen its parking profits plummet after business season ticket demand has reduced as more people work from home rather than commute each day to city centre offices.
The Opposition believes that clarity is needed from the council on its plans for charging for evening city centre parking and it needs to undertake statutory consultation on variations to parking charges at council owned car parks. We have consistently expressed concern that there is a lack of transparency on how the council uses the significant surplus it has generated from parking in recent years. We are strongly in favour of earmarking any additional revenue for climate change, air quality, and public transport improvements, and would hope to see other operators following Go Ahead's precedent of a £1 flat fare for evening bus travel. "
Cllr Robin Ashby, Liberal Democrats city centre and economy spokesperson added:
"Alive After Five was an innovation introduced by the then Liberal Democrats council administration to support the evening economy, but incentivising people to use cars to drive into the city centre is no longer a sustainable choice. We are mindful that times are still difficult for retail, restaurants, and cultural venues and we want to see a vibrant evening economy in the city centre particularly as we enter the Christmas shopping season. The council should take this opportunity to work with NE1 and transport operators to ensure support for affordable and convenient public transport offers to significantly reduce driving into the city centre to enjoy an evening of shopping, dining, or the cinema or theatre".